The OBR can confirm televised reports this evening that Cincinnati Bengals UFA G Eric Steinbach has signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns.
Browns General Manager Phil Savage told reporters on Tuesday of last week that the team intended to address the interior of the offensive line, and has done so very quickly with the addition of Steinbach.
The Iowa lineman has been in the NFL for four years and started every game for Bengals in 2006, primarily at left guard. Steinbach filled in one game at center and another at left tackle. Overall, Steinbach has played in all but one of 65 possible games since coming into the league in 2003. The signing makes up somewhat for GM Butch Davis' decision to bypass Steinbach in the 2003 draft in favor of Notre Dame center Jeff Faine.
Steinbach will likely take the place of veteran left guard Joe Andruzzi, who struggled increasingly with knee problems through the 2006 season for the Browns. Despite his determination to play, Andruzzi was not perceived to be an acceptable option for the Browns in 2007.
Steinbach does provide the Browns with several options, however, as he can play left tackle, which would allow Kevin Shaffer to move to the right. Some NFL analysts feel Steinbach could also play at an All-Pro level at the center position.
The OBR is told that the deal is worth $49 million over seven years with $23 million in the first three years. We have also been told $17 million guaranteed. We are working to confirm any and all contract details.